Ewa is Experiencing Freedom!

Today, I wept at my desk. I wept with immense grief and even greater gratitude.

Given our work and the stories we encounter regularly, you might imagine there are far more tear-filled afternoons. Yet, most days here at Starfish Project are filled with laughter, dance parties, and incredibly joy-filled awe at the life transformations we get to be a part of every. single. day. I can confidently tell you, that no woman is too far gone or has too little education to establish independence and develop a life-changing career!

Yet, here I am today, writing through tear-filled eyes as I translate the story of Ewa, who just escaped the most heartbreaking situation to experience freedom at Starfish Project. My tears fall with sadness and unmeasurable gratitude. I am so happy she is here. Safe and alive. She is just beginning the beautiful journey of discovering that she is beloved. In her story, Ewa shares, “I feel like a light has come into my life, and I see hope.” Together, we have the privilege to not only join Ewa in hoping for a better life but also put our hope into action to help provide Ewa with every resource and opportunity she needs to recover and thrive!

Ewa’s Story

Ewa has bravely offered to share her story to educate and encourage the Starfish Project community about the incredible impact you have made in her life.

Trigger Warning:

Ewa’s story contains content that may be distressing or triggering to some readers. Topics include:

  • Sexual assault

  • Domestic violence

  • Physical abuse

  • Mental trauma


My name is Ewa*, and I was born into a very unfortunate family. My family values sons more than daughters. They do not have even a little love for me. I have always like to study very much, but when I was admitted to high school, my father and grandfather did not allow me to continue studying. I got angry, ran away from home, and lost all contact with them.

When I ran away from home, I met really bad people and was raped for 28 days. During this time, I was mentally damaged– I had trouble speaking out of fear. I felt that my life was completely hopeless. When I eventually returned home, my whole family was ashamed of me.

Haunted by trauma and with nowhere to go, I went down the road of self-abandonment and sold my own body. I worked in brothels for many years and met Zi Yun (Starfish Project Outreach Director at the branch). Previously, with Zi Yun’s encouragement, I went to Starfish Project to apply, but my family forbade me from leaving the brothel. They regarded me as a tool to make money. They forced me to stay in the brothel to earn more and more money for them to build a house for my brother and pay for his wedding. My bad fate continued, and the police arrested me for prostitution. When my father found out, he beat me because I could no longer make money and kicked me out of the home.

 The beating by my father caused more trauma, as well as a severe head injury. A few weeks ago, I had an operation on my head. Feeling that there was no hope for my life, I returned to the streets penniless with my injured body to wait for clients. However, I didn't make money quickly, and without money, I couldn't afford the room where I was living. So, I contacted Jackie at Starfish Project, and she encouraged me to join. When I felt the most desperate, Starfish Project’s leaders decided to let me come work at the company. I feel like a light has come into my life, and I see hope.

When I felt the most desperate, Starfish Project’s leaders decided to let me come work at the company. I feel like a light has come into my life, and I see hope.

Now, working at Starfish Project, the company provides me with food, a safe home and helps me with everything I need for my daily life. Although I have nothing now, I feel that everything will be fine, and it is a new beginning for me. I know I will never return to my previous work.

Thank you for providing a new beginning for Ewa. She has experienced freedom and is now beginning to establish independence while living in our safe home and learning to hand-bead bracelets with the support of a loving team. Your purchases and donations are life-transforming– they have changed Ewa’s life. Her Story of Hope has just begun!